Maine Libertarian Party Files Paperwork to Begin to Qualify as a “Political Party”

The Maine Libertarian Party has become the first group to comply with the 2013 law that says if a group wants to qualify as a political party, it must notify the state in December of an even-numbered year. Such a group then has a year to obtain 5,000 registered members.

It is not clear if individuals who registered “Libertarian” long ago, when the party was ballot-qualified in the past, will count. The Libertarian Party was a qualified party in Maine during 1992, and chances are there are some voters who registered “Libertarian” back then, and who have never re-registered. Chances are, Maine election officials won’t go to the bother of finding such individuals, because they have been coded as independent voters in the computerized records. However, certain other states do “revive” such registrations when parties go off the ballot and then return, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

There were 1,048 registered Libertarians in Maine at the end of 1992.

If any other group also wishes to file this month, the deadline is December 30, not December 31; and the application requires the signatures of at least ten voters who are not registered members of any of the three qualified parties (Democratic, Republican, and Green). It seems likely that if the deadline for filing the notice of intent to qualify were challenged in court, it would be overturned; there seems to be no state interest in specifiying only one particular month for filing such a notice.


Comments

Maine Libertarian Party Files Paperwork to Begin to Qualify as a “Political Party” — 13 Comments

  1. How many registered Libertarian voters are there presently in Maine? I know there is a spot on the Maine voter registration form where a person registering can check Other, and then write in the name of a political party. I wonder how many people have done this in Maine in recent years.

  2. I do hope the Libertarian Party can recruit another 3,052 voters to join their ranks. But this whole silly law regarding what year and what month a party may qualify to become a political party, is another typical method by which the Establishment seeks to dominate the process and keep the Two Party System in place.

    Richard, does this law allow a group wanting to organize a Independent Party the same rights? Of course, it is too late for this election cycle, even if they were. And Maine may be one of those states which prohibits the use of the word “Independent” as all or part of the party name. Also, doesn’t Maine have several thousands of people registered Independent?

  3. Maine has lots of people who are registered with no political party, as well as a relatively large number who are registered under the banner of the Green Independent Party, which is what the Green Party is called in Maine.

  4. Andy, you’ve answered part of my question, and that is Maine allows the use of the word “Independent” as part of a party name. Now, unless there is a law which prohibits a party from using a word which has already been taken and used by another party, then a group could organize a Independent Party.

    The remainder of my question, is such a party allowed to count for the 5,000 needed registered Independents to meet that 5,000 membership threshold, from among the thousands of Independents registered in Maine?

  5. Maine has an election law saying a new party can’t incorporate a word into its name if some previously qualified party has that same word in its name. So because the Green Party is named the “Green Independent Party”, therefore no one could start an “Independent Party” in Maine and get it on the ballot.

  6. It’s unknown how many people have registered in this manner, as the state does not tabulate “write-in” registrations. And most municipalities will just register write-ins as “unenrolled”

    Once the paperwork goes through in the next couple of weeks, however new registrations that use the write-in line to register as Libertarians WILL be counted. The registration cards will probably not be revised until next 2016, presuming the LP gets the 5,000 registrations needed to qualify in 2015.

    People who may have registered as Libertarians in the past, ought to re-register during 2015 to make sure that their party affiliation is recorded.

  7. “The remainder of my question, is such a party allowed to count for the 5,000 needed registered Independents to meet that 5,000 membership threshold, from among the thousands of Independents registered in Maine?”

    I do not think that they call people who are not registered with a political party in Maine independents. I think that they call them Decline To State A Political Party, or Unenrolled, or No Party Preference, or something like that.

  8. “It’s unknown how many people have registered in this manner, as the state does not tabulate ‘write-in’ registrations. And most municipalities will just register write-ins as ‘unenrolled'”

    This is pretty crappy. They ought to keep a record of how many people are registered under a party label even if that party is not qualified, because it would held those party’s become qualified if there is an attempt to qualify that party. Given that the Libertarian Party is a well known minor party, the law of averages would indicate that at least some people in Maine in recent years have checked the other box on their voter registration card, and written in the word Libertarian. There is no reason why these people should not count toward ballot access for the Libertarian Party of Maine. This is something that should be grounds for a law suit. I know that filing law suits is a hassle, so it probably will not get done, but it is something which deserves a law suit.

  9. The single month is merely for the 10 signature intent form. I doubt it’ll be challenged anytime soon. Any group unable to meet this schedule would be unlikely to be able to get the 5,000 registrations.

    Any group that wants to form a recognized party would cut away from their time during the odd numbered year for collecting the 5,000 registrations.

    The Dec. 2015 deadline for the registrations is necessary due to the opening of the petitioning for party primaries starts in Jan. 2016.

  10. Bringing this up has me thinking about asking municipalities if they do have any record of earlier write-ins and if they are being reported to the state (once the registration process begins in a few weeks).

    But the last thing we want to do is make municipal registrars hostile to us. Better to try to work with them to see what records they can practically get to as to prior write-ins.

    I suspect with so much time passed, the 1992 era registrations are a lost cause, and not worth directly trying to access. But given that so many did register back then without any active campaign to register people gives me added hope that 5,000 can be done in 2015 with one.

    BTW, if I hadn’t mentioned it before, I’m the current Treasurer of the LP of Maine. So thanks Andy, for getting me thinking about this.

  11. The LP of Maine had a very active, all-volunteer, party registration drive after filing to begin the process to become an offical party in 1990.

    In 1990 the LP of Maine ran TV spots in early spring, before Tax-Protest day. The LP State convention that year was held in three cities on three days – Friday evening in Kennebunkport; Saturday in Bangor; and Sunday in Lewiston, with over 150 people in attendance on at least one day.

    Later,the Maine LP also set up an extensive outreach program with Fair Booths at nearly every county fair, in some cases running three booths simultaneously in three different cities. The Maine LP hired Joe Knight as an outreach coordinator who built the party mailing list up to 6,000 names, and by fundraising at county meetings and fairbooths raised enough money to pay his own salary.

    By the spring of 1992 the LP had an active county LP organization in every county and local town organizationsin 42 towns.

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